The problem of age discrimination
We hear a lot these days about the problems of our ageing society.
Part of this problem, or is it really a problem, is that people are living much longer than they used to. For example, when the aged pension was introduced in the early 1900s, life expectancy was around 62; nowadays it’s around 82 and people can spend a third of their life in retirement.
So why not raise the retirement age to 70, asks the Productivity Commission. Why not indeed? But there are two major problems with this suggestion at the moment:
1) Age discrimination in the workforce – people in their 50s who lose their job can easily become long term unemployed.
2) People who work in jobs involving continuous lifting, such as child care, nursing assistants, may not be able to continue to the age of 70.
We must work out ways to overcome these problems before raising the pension age.
In the meantime, we should encourage employers to take on older workers up to the age of 70 and beyond and we should encourage employees to keep on upgrading their skills throughout their working life in the rapidly changing world of paid employment.